Leaving a job, whether for a sabbatical or to transition to a new one, can be a significant life event. To ensure you make the most of your resources and put yourself in the best possible position during this period of change, it is crucial to have a well-organized plan in place.
To help other people get the most out of their job leave process, I combined my personal checklists from leaving several office jobs and got feedback from my professional network. It’s designed to help you make the most of your employment resources so that you enter unemployment in the strongest possible position.
This checklist is geared toward people taking a sabbatical but you can also use it if you’re moving between jobs—just ignore the sabbatical-specific parts such as saving and insurance for extended non-work periods.
The checklist is separated into three sections for things to do or consider before, during, and after leaving. This structure helps you plan for the entire process of leaving a job and orients the process around you, the person leaving a job. By following both your company's exit checklist and this personal guide, you can exit on good terms and secure the best outcome for yourself and the company.
Be prepared for things to move quickly once you submit your notice; preparing to leave before submitting your notice will give you additional time to do the things you want to do before rushing into the final few weeks.
Tip: Do a quick journaling exercise during each of these steps to record how you feel in the moment. Our memories of events become distorted by time and subsequent events, and it may be useful to have a short record of what you were thinking and feeling at the time.
You will also have an official, or company-mandated leave checklist which is oriented to the company. These two checklists/processes can exist alongside each other, and I recommend following both of them: the company checklist making sure you exit on good terms, and your personal checklist making sure that you are getting the best deal out of your exit.
Warning: saving company information is legally risky. Know your rights and contracts and adjust your approach to capture as much information as your company allows.
The purpose of saving company information is to make sure that you can remember and describe your work, process, and outcomes. The goal is not to take company data for commercial use such as poaching customers or projects. Company policies may limit the degree to which you can save, record, or transfer information about your own work even if it is for personal use. Know what you're contractually bound to and follow that.
Tip: If you’re on GSuite and your company allows it, Takeout is a great way of keeping all your information.
Transitioning from one job to another or embarking on a sabbatical requires careful planning and execution. By following this comprehensive job transition checklist, which covers the before, during, and after leaving phases, you can ensure that you make the most of your resources and set yourself up for success. Remember to consider both your company's exit checklist and your personal checklist, allowing you to leave on good terms while securing the best outcome for your own career journey.